I first saw his photographs in the early 1980s, but I didn’t meet him until later. It was in Paris, behind the Centre Pompidou, in the gallery above Viviane Esders, which had also exhibited, among others, Luigi Ghirri. I realized what made these medium-format, black-and-white images so astonishing in their approach to the city and architecture: they seemed to reject any sense of formalism, and they were able to integrate the power lines that most other photographers do everything they can to avoid. A few months later, in Arles, I was introduced to a tall man with a short beard. He was strong, imposing and very courteous. He thanked me for the article I had written about him in Libération and said to me, “How did you manage to write that without asking me any questions?” I burst out laughing, and it’s that memory, and the laughs I shared with Gabriele, in Paris, Bilbao, Arles, Rome and Madrid that I hope to keep. That day in Arles, he was with his companion, Giovanna Calvenzi, and his friend Luigi Ghirri, and a lifelong friendship was born.
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